The University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of Technology concluded the days proceedings of the first day of the finals weekend Varsity Basketball action at the Wits Old Mutual Sports Hall. The game was the most competitive of the day, which saw UJ come out 60-44 victors, giving them a push in the right direction ahead of tomorrow’s decisive clashes.
Both UJ and VUT having only tasted defeat once, were definitely looking to close off the day with a valuable win to secure a spot in the last four that will battle it out for the final. VUT however still have to face Wits, who have been in a rampant mood so far in the tournament, which will be a big mountain based on current form, even though they fought past the Witsies at the USSA’s. UJ on the other side of the coin, have a much ‘easier’ route going into the semi-final round.
The match up was a very competitive one from the onset, with play moving rapidly between the two ends. It was very tough one to call in the beginning, with VUT being just slightly better in the first quarter, albeit by a small margin. The men from the Vaal continued to enjoy the slight edge over their Joburg counterparts in the second quarter, but the game remained fairly close with VUT keeping their slim lead at the interval, with score seeing UJ trail 21-18.
The third and fourth quarter was where the gear shifted, with the spectators being treated to a few slam dunks. UJ’s Nathan Baruti’s slam dunk was however the stand out slam dunk, when he managed to collect then ball and dunk it, after linking up very well with two teammates from close range and finish off a great move that saw UJ off to a 34-30 lead with a quarter to go.
The final quarter saw VUT fail to recover, with the likes of Kolewole Ayodele even making 3’s during the power play. UJ were always however able to hit back quickly and convert their lay ups into points, which in the end were enough to seal a 60-44 victory despite VUT’s efforts towards the end to fight their way back into the game.
UJ 60-44 VUT
UJ: 1. Manasse Kabasele, 2. Karabo Likotsi, 3. Gomolemo Mahuma, 8. Yves Mulwisa, 5. Mpumelelo Mahlati, 9. Sikhumbuzo Mthembu, 10. Peace Famudimo, 11. Nqosa Lehloenya, 12. Zett Mutongoza, 13. Trystan Speck, 14. Nathan Baruti, 15. Lance Chikore
VUT: 4. Jeft Mokwena, 5. Nkosinathi Festile, 6. Thabiso Magakabe, 7. Kolawole Ayodele, 8. Jan Makgota, 9. Christian Manoke, 10. Anthony Chukwubuka, 11. Abel Kalubi, 13. Richard Lubasi
By S’fiso Nyawo